Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My dad is a true lover of oatmeal cookies and some time ago I had found a recipe for them. (I think it was off the oats container). Not to say that they weren’t pretty tasty, but I like cookie shaped, soft and chewy cookies and the ones I made, while they tasted good, weren’t the texture that I desired. So, I got a little itch of creativity and decided to fiddle around and come up with something I thought better fit my idea of what I want and these are the ones I came up with.

Ingredients

1 C butter softened
1 1/4 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp Watkins All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 C rolled oats
1 C Sun Maid Golden Raisins
2 C boiling water

 

Please note, before you begin these cookies, I wanted to tell you that this specific batch DID NOT have raisins and you do not have to add the raisins. The reason I didn’t add them is because I made this batch for my father who was in the hospital and he just doesn’t like raisins. But I do, and I find that the golden raisins are just tastier, both in flavor and texture, then regular raisins, but you can use either!

Preheat your oven to 325.

Boil your 2 cups of water. I use my Pyrex measuring cup that holds 4 cups, put it in the microwave a couple of minutes and I’m set. You’re going to add your raisins to the water to re hydrate them so they’re nice and plump and soft. Let the raisins sit in the water while you prep your dough.

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Mixing Wet Ingredients

First, take your
Cream together your butter and your brown sugar. Add your eggs and vanilla and mix them in well until you have a nice, fluffy mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine your flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda. You can sift these together to make sure you get some of that spice in it all and to ensure that your cloves break up, since for some reason my ground cloves have a few unground lumps in them.

Now we’re going to slowly add our dry ingredients to our wet, mixing them in until incorporated. Man, it smells so good with all that butter and spices!

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Mixing Dry Ingredients

Now we’re going to add in our oats, stirring enough to make sure that there are oats in all the dough.

Lastly, we’re going to add the raisins. Over the sink and a colander or strainer, pour your raisins out to drain off all the water. Then we’re going to add them to our cookie dough, stirring them in just as we did the oats. We don’t want to completely smash them up so be gentle to keep your raisins intact.

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Cookie Dough on Parchment

Alright! Our dough is ready to be baked. Drop by spoonfuls, or by cookie scoop fulls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. These will spread out so give them the space they need to grow!

Now we’re going to bake on 325 for about 15-18 minutes. I always say ‘about’, because everyone uses a different oven and things change. You want them to be golden around the bottom edges and just turning on the top. When you take them out of the oven they will be squishy, so let them set up on the cookie sheet otherwise they’re just going to end up falling completely apart and making a delicious mess rather than a delicious cookie!

 

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Finished Cookies


Snowball Cookies

Alright, I’m making a public announcement here, just for the record… I have never made these cookies before. Granted, there’s a few things I’ve never made before that are put up here, but if it’s super delicious I just say ‘hey, this worked out!’

So I made these cookies, and the ‘batter’ came out like.. sand, really. You know when you make a pie crust and they say to cut in the butter until the dough makes little pebbles? Well this made.. pebbles, but really tiny pebbles. I’m not sure if that’s ‘normal’, but I went with it! And, honestly, even if it’s not ‘normal’, I thought these were perfectly tasty. Could they have been ‘better’? Maybe! But I’ve never eaten a snowball cookie, so I don’t know what it’s supposed to be like, so I can only say from this one experience that I thought they were tasty! I have seen pictures where people use a cookie scoop to scoop them up and.. yeah, that would have just been a pile of ‘cookie dirt’ on the sheet. How I POSSIBLY messed these up, I don’t know as I was very precise in the way that I measured the flour because this recipe actually came with a warning on how they’d be dry if you didn’t measure the flour with the spoon method. Yup.. I used a spoon to measure the flour. None the less, I do recommend, if not for these cookies but other cookies, a scoop which is super handy.

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

Hey, this is a big step considering I’m an ‘eyeballing’ type person who guesstimates how much of something goes in a recipe, so I know I followed it! But, for the sake of sparing you some ‘sandy’ dry ‘batter’, I’m going to make a slight change to the flour which, in my opinion, can’t hurt. I’ll make these again and give you an update on how that changes the texture of the cookies.

ANYWAY…. let’s get down to the cookies.

Ingredients

1 C butter softened
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 C flour
1 1/3 C chopped pecans
Extra powdered sugar for dusting cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Since I have a convection oven and wanted to put more than one sheet in at a time, I put it on convection bake at 325.

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Creamed butter, sugar and vanilla

Cream your butter and powdered sugar together until well mixed. Once that’s done, just add in the vanilla until it’s well incorporated and each of those cookies gets a little taste of that delicious vanilla flavor.

Now we’re going to add the flour, mixing gently so we don’t overwork the dough. Just make sure you get all your butter and flour mixed together. I am told that it’s important to not scoop the flour from its source into your measuring cup because this compacts the flour and then you have a dry cookie, so if you’re worried about that, just spoon the flour into your measuring cup to measure it out.

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Ninja’d Pecans

Once that’s done, we’re going to stir in our chopped pecans. I had pecan halves and since this is supposed, from what I understand, be like a pecan sandy cookie in a ball form, I just tossed my halves into the Ninja Professional Blender with Nutri Ninja Cups (BL660) and gave them a few bursts. This made some ‘pecan dust’, which might…MIGHT have affected the dough a little, as well as some pecan pieces. Honestly, I think having the dust in the cookie was a good move because you can really taste the pecan flavor!

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Dough before pecans are mixed in.

Now that it’s all been brought together, you should have a crumbly dough. Mine was SANDY, not crumbly, which as I’ve mentioned, was probably a little on the dry side for this cookie, but worry not, I already cut back the flour a tad in your ingredients list. I gave you a close up of my pecans and my dough after the flour had been added so you can see the texture of what mine came out to be like.

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Cookie Dough

Now we’re going to roll these into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Mine didn’t roll, so I pressed them, which made them.. bumpy with fingerprints and not all pretty and professional smooth like a ‘snowball. But hey… no one will question if they’re homemade!

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Cookies on the Sheet

Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Don’t worry, they won’t spread out, so just put a little space between them and cram that cookie sheet up! Since I didn’t know if they’d spread, I spaced mine out, but I found out during the second batch that I wasted a lot of cookie baking space.

Now I baked mine on 325 (convection oven) for 12 minutes. This was until they were basically set up and had a very small touch of brown on the bottoms and on some of my finger indentation ridges I left behind which marked these cookies as HOMEMADE. They don’t get brown unless you overcook them (yes.. I overcooked about 4), so don’t wait for these babies to brown up completely or they’re going to be a bit..overly crunchy. Regular oven at 350, the recipe calls for 15 minutes. I don’t know if that’s just going to cremate them so just be diligent and watch them from the 10 minute mark on, just in case!

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First dusting on the left, second dusting on the right

Once done, place the cookies on cooling racks. Once they’re WARM and not oven hot, we’re going to take them, one at a time, and put them in the bowl with the extra powdered sugar, coating them. I put some foil beneath my cooling rack so I’d not have powdered sugar everywhere. And, once the cookies are cooled completely, we’ll dust them one last time. We dust them when they’re warm because the sugar will melt into the buttery cookie a little to give it some sticky surface for the second dusting, just in case you were wondering.

After their second dusting, you simply grab some nice cold milk or a hot cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy!

Overall, I found these to be perfectly tasty made the way I made them, but if you are a snowball connoisseur then I’m sure you’ll have some criticizing for my (MAYBE DRY) cookies, but hopefully the flour adjustment I’ve made will have these delicious little pecan cookies tasting glorious!

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Snowball Cookies


White Chocolate Peppermint Cake Mix Cookies

I’m sure most of you have heard of ‘cake mix cookies’ and that by adding simply ‘one or two more ingredients’, you can have delicious cookies.

I’m not really the type that takes the ‘easy’ road when it comes to baking something that I want to bake, so finding an ‘inexpensive’ way to make cookies wasn’t really on my roster. I am, however, previously known to be a cake mix hoarder. Why? Well, I make cakes for friends and so I’d always have cake mix on hand. I think at one point, I had 14 boxes of cake mix that were not destined to become a cake, but when I was at the store I was like “Ooo, I don’t think I have any cake mix.” Yeah… that’s me! Cake Mix Hoarder!

So, I had 3 boxes of cake mix, two red velvet and one vanilla and thus I decided to try this ‘cake mix cookie’ thing that people just rave over. I did the crackle cookies which is where you mix the cake mix with the eggs and just some melted butter, roll it into balls and dip it into a powdered sugar/cornstarch mix and bake. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t gross, they just weren’t COOKIES! They were more like little, rounded cake bites.

Sorry guys who like cake mix cookies… my socks were not blown off by the cake mix cookie revelation.

What I decided to do was experiment and try to get it to make ACTUAL cookies without having to add 500 more ingredients and so I came up with something that I think worked GREAT! I mean.. I’ve had five cookies since yesterday, when I made them, and that’s saying a lot, considering the size of them. I thought they were super delicious, so I’m going to share with you the recipe I came up with. Be forewarned, however, that this is VANILLA cake mix. Know that any time you make something with powdered chocolate (aka–chocolate cake mix), that it’s going to be more dry, so I would stick with non chocolate cake mix for this specific recipe, but don’t worry! I’m going to come up with a chocolate one for you. I’m actually thinking of ‘chocolate peppermint’ or even a ‘german chocolate’. Now, Stephanie can’t eat coconut but I love it. Love, love, love it, so I can’t exactly just not bake with it!

Anyhow, let’s get on with the cookies so you can revel in their deliciousness, especially if you like peppermint. Not to mention, they’re good for the holidays since peppermint is like the Christmas flavor.

Ingredients

1 box Duncan Hines Signature French Vanilla Cake Mix

3 large eggs

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 C packed brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon Watkins Extract Peppermint

1 bag Ghirardelli Premium Baking Chips, Classic White Chocolate, 11 oz

3 peppermint candy canes

Preheat your oven to 350 for a regular electric oven with the heating element on it, or 325 for gas or convection. I have a convection oven and if I don’t knock off 25 degrees of the cooking temp and go with the longer, slower way of baking, things tend to burn.

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Butter and Brown Sugar

First things first…as with 99% of cookie/baking recipes, we’re going to cream together the softened butter and the brown sugar until it’s nice and fluffy. Once that is done, add the eggs, one at a time and mix until well incorporated.

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Adding in the Eggs

Now I poured in the cake mix and began mixing. It’s going to be kind of dry and you’re going to think ‘Oh my gosh, there’s not enough moisture’ for a minute or two but there is. Don’t freak out, just keep mixing until you get all that dry cake mix blended in and its a sticky, semi-loose dough. Kinda like really thick icing is how I would describe the texture.

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Butter, Eggs and Sugar

I was going to tint my cookies red because I wanted it to match the candy cane crumble and when I went for the red food coloring, (pause for funny story), I remembered at one point my OLDEST kid decided he needed red food coloring for some costume blood apparently, because I had found the container out in the garage after his ‘fake massacre photo shoot’ he did for fun with his friends around Halloween last year. (Yes… I use food coloring that long!) Sooooooo… I decided to make it a pale blue because that says ‘snowflake’ and ‘snow’ to me.

Add the food coloring of your choice or leave the cookies white, which now that I think about it, would have matched the red and WHITE candy canes! Oh well! Then mix until all your dough is the desired color. You can even semi-mix it and have ‘streaked’ cookies which would be just fine!

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Cake Mix Batter

Add the peppermint extract. I use pure extracts. Extracts that are imitation have a yucky flavor but if you’re not bothered by that weird, somewhat metallic tang, use what you have on hand. This is a fair reminder to you all… any time you use a strong flavored extract such as almond or peppermint, it’s best to start off very small and work your way up to the desired flavor. Don’t just go dumping that stuff in because it can quickly overpower what you’re cooking! I started off with literally two drops of peppermint. I wanted these cookies to be minty, but I didn’t want it to burn my mouth and upset my whole digestive system with its cool, crisp, minty flavor. Eventually, I added about 1/8 tsp of mint until it was to MY liking. This doesn’t mean you can’t add more if you want. Plus this gives you the chance to eat some dough. I know there’s this big thing where everyone is like O.M.G, you can’t eat raw eggs anymore! You’ll get a worm or a disease!

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Tossing in the White Chocolate Chips

I’m like, hey look… I’ve been eating raw eggs since I was a kid and.. I’m still going to taste my stuff. It’s important when you buy¬† your eggs, that they’re kept at 43 F in the grocery store and as well at home. Does this mean your eggs are safe? No not really, but the cold does help prevent the growth of Salmonella. In fact, 1/3 of egg producers do not vaccinate their hens for Salmonella because the law doesn’t require chickens to be vaccinated while in other countries, like Britain, law requires ALL hens to have their vaccinations before they begin producing eggs for public consumption. So, while I’m not telling you that its ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY SAFE by any standards, I’m telling you that I’m a risk taker and I’m gonna taste my batter and hope I don’t get sick later! The choice, inevitably, is yours!

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White Chocolate Chips Folded In

Once you’ve got your dough all colored and pepperminted up, it’s time to simply fold in the white chocolate chips. I like to continue to fold them in until I’m sure there’s enough in the batter that every cookie gets some of them.

After this, I place the dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. This time I used my new ‘cookie scoop’ and it kinda scooped BIG cookies because I couldn’t really scrape off excess dough due to its sticky, chocolate chip filled body. This is the reason I had larger cookies, and cookies that reached out to hug their neighbors. If you’re more precise that I was, all you need to do is give them about 2 inches of space between them, their neighboring cookies and the walls of your baking sheets for them to have space to grow.

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Cookie Dough on Parchment Paper

I got 12 cookies per sheet. I have large baking sheets.

If you’re baking them on 325 due to having a gas or convection stove, bake them for 10-11 minutes. If you’re baking them on 350 for an electric stove, check them around 8 minutes. The edges should be browning slightly for them to be done.

While your cookies are baking, take your candy canes and unwrap them and break them into pieces. No, you don’t have to break them into pieces to be cookie toppers by hand, but I did discover that, while the straight shaft of the candy cane was easily broken under my bashing rolling pin, the crook part, because you’re practically hitting two parts of it at once, had a tendency (before I put them in a ziploc bag and beat them on the counter top), to shoot across the kitchen before shattering into uneven pieces. Place your broken candy canes in a ziploc bag and beat them until you get little bits. I got some dust too because I was overzealous in the abuse of my candy canes, but the cookies that had the most ‘bits’ on them were SO delicious so I encourage bits over dust.

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Candy Cane Fodder

Once your cookies come out of the oven with their slightly browned edges, sprinkle them with the candy cane bits so that the bits will melt and stick to the cookies. I still had some fall off which, much to my 11 year old’s delight, meant he got to pick them off the cookie sheets later.

Let the cookies cool before you try to take them off the pan. They’ll be crunchy on the edge and nice and moist in the middle once cooled. But if you try to take them off the sheet before that, the middle is probably going to fall out of it.

As you can see, my blue, I guess because of the ‘white’ or ‘off white’ of the vanilla cake, came out looking more green. Stephanie actually asked me if they were pistachio (even though they had candy canes on top) and I was like ‘NO! They’re the white chocolate peppermint we have been DISCUSSING!’ Hah! None the less, these cookies, in my opinion, I thought were pretty amazing! I hope you enjoy them for your holiday gatherings!